Cars Land is the crowning capstone on DCA's transformation, and the first major "land" in an American Disney theme park devoted solely to a single film franchise. Tucked in the park's southeast corner on 12 acres of repurposed parking lot, Cars Land's main entrance is across from the Golden Vine Winery, though there are secondary gateways in a bug's land and Pacific Wharf. A massive mountainous backdrop topped with 125-foot-high peaks patterned after 1959 Cadillac Pinnacle tail fins—known as the Cadillac Range—cradles Ornament Valley, home to a screen-accurate re-creation of Radiator Springs. That's the sleepy single-stoplight town along Route 66 populated by Pixar's anthropomorphized automobiles.
Along its main drag, in addition to the three rides detailed here, you find eateries themed to the film's minor characters such as Fillmore's Taste-in, serving fruit drinks and snacks; Cozy Cone Motel, with chili, ice cream, and popcorn, all in conical containers; and Flo's V8 Cafe, serving creative takes on classic comfort food with a Southwestern twist for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Souvenir shops include Radiator Springs Curios, Ramone's House of Body Art, and Sarge's Supply Hut.
Cars Land represents a considerable investment in capital and creativity for the Disney company, resulting in a rare example of complete entertainment immersion. Walking through the aesthetically astounding area is uncannily like stepping into the cinematic universe, and well worth the wait even if you weren't particularly enamored of the merchandise-moving movies. Since opening, the area has attracted massive crowds all day and has dramatically increased DCA's overall attendance. As striking as Cars Land is by daylight, it is even more stunning after sunset; the nightly neon-lighting ceremony set to the doo-wop classic "Life Could Be a Dream" is a magical must-see.
Disney Dish with Jim Hill
Fork in the Road; Spoon in Your Mouth
Though the initial ads for this new "land" will hype Cars Land's rides, the folks who designed this 12-acre addition to the park hope that you'll walk away raving about the food. The Imagineers took a 2008 research trip along Route 66 to get the details just right, stopping at roadside diners to sample delicious comfort foods such as macaroni and cheese, savory beef sandwiches, and, of course, freshly baked pies. And that's just the sort of food that Disney will be serving at Cozy Cone Motel and Flo's V8 Cafe. So as you enter Cars Land, please remember to click your seat belt and then loosen your real belt.